Train Dance

Train Dance

by Jonathan Wells
     
 

Train Dance adopts the rhythm and return of the commute through the Hudson Valley into Manhattan as a motif for the echoes of memory and event that contour a life. Reflecting on the place of poetry amid the urban hustle—a way one might “Carry myself like a tune/ Into the chorus of the city”—Wells records a series of linked journeys in which

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Overview

Train Dance adopts the rhythm and return of the commute through the Hudson Valley into Manhattan as a motif for the echoes of memory and event that contour a life. Reflecting on the place of poetry amid the urban hustle—a way one might “Carry myself like a tune/ Into the chorus of the city”—Wells records a series of linked journeys in which a son comes to understands his mother’s death and writing engraves events in memory, retaining events as locations—station stops, as it were—to which one returns.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
A first book of poetry from an established editor and anthologist (Third Rail: The Poetry of Rock and Roll), this volume extends its metaphor, from engine to obsolete caboose, through the spaces of domestic sadness, familial loss, and sexual renewal. Infused with the surrealism of physical displacement, the poems are haunting in places but unfortunately marred by a tendency to end lines with prepositions ("There won't be time before he leaves at/ dawn to recall the grapestand under/ the stars near Kandahar…") and by some awkward formal verse (a sonnet that rhymes "before" with "anymore," for example) that doesn't seem worth the effort. Most compelling are the father/son poems, which include the title piece about a game played with a child to make time go faster. This conceit provides a nice counterpoint to the opening poem's sense of time moving too quickly: "no matter how far I lean into those turns,/ I cannot catch tomorrow's train tonight." VERDICT Despite some prosodic awkwardness, this book evokes the poignancy of the suburban male psyche that tells time by a commutation schedule but is out of synch with the present. For larger audiences.—Ellen Kaufman, New York

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781935536147
Publisher:
Four Way Books
Publication date:
10/11/2011
Pages:
76
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.30(d)

What People are saying about this

David St. John
“Trains both real and ghostly populate the city that pulses though the exquisite poems of this collection, a city actual and dreamscape both.”
Dorianne Laux
“Each word lined up, steaming, shimmering, tilting through smoke and tinsel, signal towers, ‘shingled light’…Train Dance transports the reader to destinations ‘higher than the minds of the stars’ geometers’.”

Meet the Author

JONATHAN WELLS works as an editor in New York.

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